How to Preside Over a Meeting


Presiding over a meeting can make or break your rise to the top of a company or your respect level as an executive. Presiding over a meeting doesn't have to be stressful, it can be fun. It's possible to have smooth sailing at the next meeting you steer.

Send an email in advance of the meeting laying out the desired agenda and topics that will be covered. Be detailed and specific about how long the meeting will last and where it will take place.

Arrive for the meeting 10 minutes before the rest of the attendees are scheduled to do so. Take your time laying out any necessary documents, getting a cup of coffee (or other beverage to keep your throat from drying out as you speak) and situating yourself at the front of the room.

Greet everyone as they enter the room, shaking hands and making eye contact. Direct them to assigned seats if this is necessary.

Appoint someone to take notes, or minutes, of the meeting.

Open the meeting with a quick introduction, standing at the front of the table, office or conference room in which the meeting is taking place. Go over the previous meeting's minutes and ask for approval. Once you have that approval, address any questions about that day's agenda before proceeding.

Begin the dialogue or briefing on the first topic of business. Allow others to respond, add and discuss. If people speak out of turn profusely, ask them to please respect the others in the room and wait to verbally illustrate their point.

Stay in control. When people get off track on the topic at hand, nicely but forcefully interject to steer everyone back to the central issue. If you allow the conversation to stray, it will reflect on your ability to preside over the meeting.

At the conclusion of the meeting, stand up and thank everyone for coming. Remind them of any tasks they have committed too. Shake hands if possible as people leave the meeting.

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